Parties to the Suit

Plaintiff

The plaintiff is a party who sues, including a defendant who files a counterclaim.

Defendant

The defendant is a party who is sued, including a plaintiff against whom a counterclaim is filed.

Defendant Roles

  • As an Individual: Sue the Defendant individually in the following two situations:
    1. You believe the Defendant is personally responsible to you for damages he/she may have caused you
    2. The Defendant as an individual operating a proprietorship or partnership and you believe he/she is personally responsible to you for damages he/she may have caused
  • As a Proprietorship or Partnership: A proprietorship or partnership is a business that is not incorporated, but has filed an “Assumed Name” with the County Clerk. For example, “John Smith, d/b/a Smith Plumbing Company.” To determine whether a company or an individual has an assumed name you must contact the County Clerk’s office in the County where the company is located.
  • As a Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC): If the business you are suing is incorporated or formed as a Limited Liability Company, you must contact the State Comptroller’s Office at 800-252-1386, or the Secretary of State at 512-463-5555. Ask for the name and address for service to the Registered Agent (the President or Vice-President will also work). This is the person who has been authorized to receive information and process of service regarding lawsuits filed against the corporation or LLC

Service of Citation - Rule 501

Each Defendant must be served personally, usually by a Constable or Sheriff, in the County where the Defendant is located. Fees for service vary by County. For citations to be served in a county other than Denton County, the Constable or Sheriff of that County should be contacted for the amount of the service fee and location for forwarding the citation. If the Defendant is to be served in a state other than Texas, call the County Courthouse for the County where the Defendant will be served for information.

The Court will issue and forward the Citation to the Constable or Sheriff’s office you have indicated for service on the Defendant. The Citation will leave this Court promptly, however it may take several weeks or more for the Citation to be personally served. Check periodically by telephone with the Constable or Sheriff’s office directly. It is your responsibility to insure service of your citations.

Costs of Court

  • Denton County Citation Service Fee is $75 per defendant.
  • The filing fee for Eviction cases is $46.
  • The filing fee for Small Claims and Debt Claims is $51.

A separate check or money order is required for service of a citation outside of Denton County.

Venue - Where a Lawsuit May Be Brought

Governed by Rule 502.4

Representation

Governed by Rule 500.4

Discovery

Governed by Rule 500.9

Jury Request

Governed by Rule 504, if you desire a trial by jury you must submit a written request for a jury trial, and pay a fee of $22.00, 14 days prior to trial. Jury trials often last several hours longer than a trial heard by the Judge so plan your schedule accordingly.

Date for Trial

Governed by Rule 503.3, if the Defendant files a written answer the case may be set for trial. You will receive written notice of your Court date no less than 45 days before the trial date. Parties who are not represented by an attorney should prepare carefully for trial. 

Defendant’s Answer

Governed by rule 502.5, after the Citation has been served the Defendant must file a written answer to the suit by the end of the 14th day after the day he/she was served. 

Defendant Fails to Answer

Governed by Rule 503.1

Motions for Postponing Trial

Governed by Rule 503.3, a party may file a motion requesting that the trial be postponed. The motion must state why a postponement is necessary. The judge, for good cause, may postpone any trial for a reasonable time.

Witnesses

Governed by Rule 500.8, you are responsible to bring your witnesses to Court. If there are witnesses who will not come to Court voluntarily, you may request that a Subpoena be prepared and served to secure their presence in Court. This should be done at least three weeks before trial in order to allow for service of the Subpoena. The Court does not guarantee that service will be obtained. Successful service of witness subpoenas is your responsibility. Contact the Clerk of the Court for fees.

Appeal Information

Governed by Rule 506, either party has 21 days in which to appeal the Judge’s decision. An appeal bond must be filed with the Court within 21 days after the date of Judgment. Appeals filed after the deadline will be denied.

  1. Contact the Court and find out the amount of the appeal bond required.
  2. Prepare a Notice of Appeal, file it with the Court and mail it to the opposing party.
  3. File the Appeal Bond and pay the Transcript Fee of $10.
  4. The Court will then prepare a Transcript of the events on file in your case and send it to the County Court Clerk. All Court contact from that point on will be with the Denton County Court at Law Number 2, by contacting the County Clerk’s office at 940-349-2016.

Enforcement of Judgment

Governed by Rule 505.2, if you receive a Judgment against the Defendant and the Defendant does not file a Motion for New Trial, file an Appeal, or does not pay the Judgment, you may seek other remedies to collect your Judgment. The Justice Court cannot assist you in collection of your Judgment.

Below are listed some remedies that are available to you, and that may assist you in the collection of the Judgment - once the judgment is paid in full, notify the court in writing by making a request to release the Judgment.

  • Abstract of Judgment: You may obtain an Abstract of Judgment after the appeal time expires. A fee of $5 per Abstract is paid to the Court. The Abstract may then be filed in the office of the County Clerk in any County where you may think the Judgment Debtor may own real property.
  • Writ of Execution: You may obtain a Writ of Execution any time after the 30th day from the date of Judgment.